KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 1, 2011) – Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Rep. Harry Brooks and others joined relatives of U.S. Army PFC Patrick Fitzgibbon in naming a Rutledge Pike bridge in honor of the fallen Knox County veteran. PFC Fitzgibbon was killed in combat Aug. 1, 2009 while serving in Mushan village, Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal posthumously.
Mayor Burchett spoke about the importance of honoring our military veterans, and especially recognizing those who have given their lives in the service of this country. After speaking, Mayor Burchett and the Fitzgibbon family formally dedicated the PFC Patrick Fitzgibbon Bronze Star Memorial Bridge with the unveiling of the sign. Commissioner's Jeff Ownby and Ed Shouse were also in attendance.
“My father was a veteran and served during World War II in the Marine Corps, and I had an uncle in the U.S. Army who died on D-Day and whose 48-star flag hangs in my office,” Mayor Burchett said. “To this day, my mother tears up when she hears the National Anthem. I just hope that people will drive across that bridge and remember the cost of freedom and just how precious it is.”
Members of the East Tennessee Patriot Guard Riders kicked off the event with a memorial ride across the bridge, followed by a ceremonial balloon release, taps and a 3-volley salute in honor of PFC Fitzgibbon.
Fitzgibbon attended South Doyle High School and earned his GED before joining the Army in December 2009. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He was 19 years old.
The PFC Patrick Fitzgibbon Bronze Star Memorial Bridge is located on Rutledge Pike at Cement Plant Road.